Earlier today, we wondered if, in light of the news that Vikram Pandit had resigned as CEO of Citigroup, analyst Meredith Whitney’s opinion of the bank had changed. Choice comments that Whitney has made about the Big C in the past have included: “Citigroup is in such a mess Stephen Hawking couldn’t turn this company around“; “Citi is like an old broken-down Victorian house“; and Citi “has no earnings power, isn’t going to grow, hasn’t been investable in four years.” She also once told Maria Bartiromo that the only way she’d change her mind about company would be if she received “a new brain.” Still, sometimes analysts change their tune when new blood is brought in and, like former FDIC chair Sheila Bair, perhaps some of her beef with the bank had been a personal dislike of Uncle V. Now that he’s gone, is she seeing Citigroup in a new light? Read more »
Point: “This was decided yesterday afternoon. I made the decision. I talked to [Citigroup Chairman] Mr. O’Neill. I don’t believe in having lame-duck sessions, in having the outgoing CEO looking over the shoulder of the incoming CEO.” Counterpoint: “Citigroup directors ousted Chief Executive Officer Vikram Pandit after concluding that he had mismanaged operations, leading to setbacks with regulators and a loss of credibility with investors, a person with knowledge of the discussions said.”
As you may have heard, earlier today, Citigroup announced that CEO Vikram Pandit would be resigning from his post at the bank, effective immediately, along with several longtime lieutenants. While the news came as a shock to Wall Street, it was assumed that on the inside, employees had been given some advanced warning and time to get used to the idea of life without Uncle Vik. That they weren’t just realizing now those hugs on the elevator Monday had been their last. That he’d stashed something away for them to remember him by. (A one dollar bill with this face on it. A glossy 8X10 photo to keep on their desks. SOMETHING.) That he hadn’t just left in the middle of the night. Unfortunately for those who’ve grown quite attached to Vickles since he took the reigns in 2007, however, that’s exactly what happened.
The news of Mr. Pandit’s departure after five years atop the company came as a shock to Citigroup employees, including senior executives. In the firm’s London office, some executives emerged from a meeting and read the news on their computers and Bloomberg terminals, well before the bank’s internal memo was released. Soon a dozen employees were crowded in front of television monitors, following the story on financial business shows. Others were seen around a water cooler on the trading floor, discussing the news. Still others retreated to their desks to parse Citigroup’s recent earnings release, looking for hints of internal conflict. “There’s shock,” said a Citigroup executive based in New York. “Even senior people were surprised.”
And although early reports suggested that Count Vikula had simply decided that Citigroup had come so far since he’d taken the gig five years ago that his work was done, and that while it was time to move onto the next stage of his life, he’d cherish the memories and the people he met at Citi, it now sounds like the split was a bit more acrimonious than that. Read more »
About a month ago, retired Citi CEO Sandy Weill set his alarm an hour early, got out of bed when it was still dark, ate a piece of rye toast, told Joan he’d see her when he’d see her, took the elevator downstairs to wait for the car that drove him out to Englewood Cliffs, and went on CNBC to proffer a small suggestion to Wall Street: break up the big banks. Perhaps you heard about it? Not many people were receptive to the notion of Weill giving them advice on the matter, which may or may not have had something to do with the fact that in his day, Weill couldn’t get enough of big banks and was the man responsible for cobbling together the behemoth known as Citigroup, an institution so huge it can barely support its own weight. The response by most, in fact, was “Shut it, you old bag.” But what about Vikram Pandit, the lucky guy who inherited the place? What did he think of Weill’s tip? After giving it some good thought– really and truly considering it– for a few weeks, he’s decided to take a pass:
Citigroup’s chief executive has knocked back the idea of big banks being split up after calls from people such as his predecessor Sandy Weill.
But not for the reasons you might think! Pandit actually agrees with Sando because if you think about it, Citi’s already been broken up and is basically the bank it was before the merger that resulted in the need for firefighters to use a giant pulley system to lift it out of bed every morning and help it get around. Read more »
Fuck with Count Vikula at your own risk. Read more »
The master of ceremonies made a mistake as he named John Thain one of the year’s finest dads, introducing him as the chief executive officer of Citigroup. “Vikram Pandit will be very unhappy,” Thain said, accepting an award from Father’s Day/Mother’s Day Council Inc. on June 14. “I’m actually the CEO of CIT, which is similar, but not quite the same.”…host Mark Shriver apologized for bungling his introduction of Thain, 57, a former Goldman Sachs president who has been CEO of CIT Group Inc. since February 2010. “I thought it was a misspelling,” said Shriver, senior vice president of nonprofit Save the Children. “It said CIT — I’m like, this has got to be Citi.” [Bloomberg, related]
If you didn’t know Chief Executive Officer Vikram Pandit, you might think he enjoyed not being compensated for the work he does at Citigroup because for quite some time, he wasn’t. And although the “I will only get paid $1/year until Citi turns a profit” exercise was fun for a while, he was pretty happy when the old jalopy started making money again, in part because it meant he could receive a paycheck. Then last April, his shareholders rejected the bank’s executive pay plan, claiming the Big C “lets Chief Executive Officer Vikram Pandit collect millions of dollars in rewards too easily.” And while it’s possible that Citi shareholders are just a bunch of pricks who chose to overlook the fact that Uncle Vikula didn’t collect squat for several years and once had an entire article written about the fact that lieutenants attributed a “new bounce in his step” to him daydreaming “the day when he is going to earn more than a $1 a year,” maybe they just assume that he doesn’t care about getting paid either way? Anyway, here’s Vickles, setting the record straight (and reminding anyone who forgot about the sacrifices he’s made): Read more »
“The [Greek] election is certainly positive for keeping the euro together,” Pandit said in a brief interview on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Pandit was there to ring the opening bell to commemorate the bank’s 200th anniversary. “We’ve long thought that its important for Europe to have one strong currency. Having said that, we’ve got to be ready for every eventuality as a back up,” Pandit added. Over the last 18 months, Pandit says Citi is preparing by “very tightly managing” exposure to financial institutions in Europe. In percentage terms, Citi’s holdings have been scaled down to 10 percent from 40 percent during the tumult of the European debt crisis. “The risk we have is extremely manageable, particularly given our capital and our liquidity,” says Pandit. [CNBC]
Kind of! Remember Old Lane? That hedge fund Citigroup had to buy to get its hands on CEO of the Century Vikram Pandit? If you missed out on the chance to invest in it during its all-too-short two years of managing money, don’t despair. Another chance is on the horizon. Sutesh Sharma, the guy who co-founded OLP with Pandit is getting the band back together, minus Uncle Vik, who will be missed, and starting a new fund this fall. Read more »
Here is a fun thing we can do, which is put arbitrary numbers in a list and see how they look. Shall we? We shall.
First, here is how much various bank CEOs and assorted other miscreants made in 2011, if you don’t worry too much about what “made” and “in 2011″ mean*:
This list is, of course, inspired by this exercise by Bloomberg, ranking the top 50 highest paid financial institution CEOs. But if you’re Lloyd Blankfein or, I mean, really, Henry Kravis, you are probably not planning your retirement around your paycheck. Instead you could to some approximation view your job running your financial institution as keeping an eye on the people responsible for your private wealth, in the form of your share ownership in that institution, and Lloyd’s $16mm 2011 paycheck hardly makes up for the $155mm of lost value on his GS shares. Read more »
Bloomberg reports that Uncle Vik has put his 6-bedroom, 6-bath Greenwich, CT weekend house on the market and while experts are skeptical he’ll get the $4.3 million asking price, perhaps someone will consider throwing him a bone. Citi shareholders have screwed him yet again and he could use the cash. No zen garden to speak of (cruel world) but there are “rolling grounds” and a lagoon-like pool. Make him an offer.